Alabama Shakes @ Paramount in Seattle 03.03.13
“Are you scared to wear your heart out on your sleeve?” This is a very poignant line delivered during an incredibly powerful performance of the song “You ain’t alone” by Alabama Shakes. It’s abundantly clear that lead singer Brittany Howard is not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. I believed every word that came out of her mouth. I believed every note played of every song sang.
What I can’t believe is that I’m going to publicly admit that during that rendition of “You ain’t alone I was shocked and mildly freaked out to find that my eyes were welling up with tears. It was that powerful. Granted, there is a solid chance I’m simply suffering from sympathy PMS for my wife Lea but still…this show was nothing short of amazing.
The majority of Alabama Shakes attention is focused on Brittany but I have to take my hat off to the rest of the band. They didn’t move around the stage much but you could tell they were into it. I particularly enjoyed watching bass player Zac Cockrell. The man has an awe inspiring beard and a twinkle in his eye that gives a hint of just how much he is enjoying himself on stage. During the Grammy Awards I perceived him to be a guy that thought all the hoopla surrounding the event was a bit silly. Tonight I could see he just loves to jam. He kept up the stoic appearance for most of the night but every now and then it appeared he just couldn't help himself and started head banging and rocking out big time. It was fun to watch.
Photographers typically get to shoot the first three songs of a concert. For Alabama Shakes it was such a thrill because two of the three first songs played were two of my favorites! The contagious hit “Hold On” that you simply can’t help but sing along to and “Always Alright” which happened to be the two songs they played on Saturday Night Live in February.
Few words were spoken in between songs but those that did get said meant something. With authentic gratitude and a genuinely humble tone that made me appreciate this band even more Brittany thanked the crowd for making the effort to come see them…”Some of you had to get a babysitter to be here, some of you have to work tomorrow morning, some of you didn’t have the money to buy the ticket.” She gets it. Alabama Shakes is authentic and amazing. What else is there to say?